Ribbon Cables vs. Standard

Who's used both, what brands, and what were your impressions?


I have a set of XLO Signature 3-5.2 cables and a set of Silversmith Audio Fidelium Speaker Cables.  I can't hear any difference between the two.  Just my ears or is it just no difference between speaker cables once you spend a few dollars?  The main seems to be the ease in running a standard cable compared to the ribbon.  Now let the tired old disscussion about cable begin.  🤣

Without requesting, also, a variety of control factors (gear, room dimensions and materials, audio tracks played, etc.) how could any opinions gathered here be of much use, besides entertainment? Yes, that's a rhetorical question.

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I mentioned factors capable of affecting the overall sound. Factors which might completely overwhelm or seriously change what's contributed by whatever cable is mentioned.

Your response? Make fun of my question by comparing them to factors like the weather, etc.

That doesn’t nullify the validity of my comment but does add information about your personality.

Sheesh indeed.

By "ribbon" do you mean simply "flat" cables or cables with flat/wide ribbon conductors as opposed to round wire conductors laid out in a flat plain?

I found speaker cables using flat/wide ribbon conductors to be flat (scooped?) in the upper mid's compared to round wire cables from the same manufacturer.

This is regarding the 4708 47 labs cable I've used for 20 years now VS their "ribbon" cable (forget the model, but it wasn't expensive @ around $600/pair).

The ribbon version was less forward offering increased subtle detail while not being bright/brighter (maybe a bit less harmonically rich).

I prefer fat, forward, rich and in-my-face (though with exception to the latter I did not marry that way).

I heard the same difference with mystery cables @ a DIY speaker get together 20 years ago.

Mystery round wire speaker cables swapped out with mystery DIY wide flat ribbon cables driving DIY speakers sporting Ted Jorden's (sp?) tiny wide band drivers.

In this case the ribbon cables sounded better (to me) and the ribbons were much wider than the half inch, or so, 47 Labs cable I tried (they tamed sibilance).

This said, I experienced the same upper midrange change when switching Kimber 4VS with Kimber 4TC in my old Audion 300B/Reynaud Twins setup.

I preferred the less expensive 4VS for its fuller midrange and both were braided cables made from round stranded wire.

I sold all the Kimber @ that point and went with the 47 Labs cable that I still use today.

Not much experience here, but that's my take and I'm sticking to it.




Hi, dekay.

Yessir, I just meant simply ’flat’ style cables.

Thank you for your observations.


@hilde45 ,

Perhaps I was a bit glib in my response to you.

Your point is quite valid in that all you mentioned of course makes a difference.


I think the theory behind something like this:

and something like this:

is going to be very different.

Anyone heard both styles?

Would Nordost Blue Heaven counts as a "ribbon" cable?  I am not sure that I understand the question

Flat cables they can be very fast and if not careful  on matching? They will sound bright or thin or a system that is already resolving.

Then there are the Goertz Alpha Core flat cables.  Can't really compare to standard cables as you would need the identical cable built in both geometries. 


Holy mackerel!

I didn't realize the extent of the differing styles and geometries of all these!

Yes, my question is way too general and simplistic.

If you haven't already check out the Chinese cable thread @ AudioAsylum.

One of the links I clicked on showed a "flat" cable with numerous round wires laid out in a plain.



As far as I am aware, Nordost, Harmonic Tech, and Neotech are the principal manufacturers of "flat" cables with multiple wires.

Harmonic Tech already posted above.

Silversmith and Goertz make the true ribbon cable.

There are probably others.

Then there are still others that are half way there, like Audio Envy SP-12.

I bought Nordost Blue Heaven under the simplistic assumption that there would be less intertwining of cables and therefore less possibility of ground loops or other unwanted phenomenon that I seemed to be getting with other designs.  I think it worked because I haven't really thought about such phenomena in the years since I purchased them, but there may be some other explanation.  They sound fine to me and I am  not one that stresses much over cables.  I was able to pick up some used Valhalla cables at an estate sale and I don't really notice any difference

Bigtwin, sometimes cables do sound more alike than different. Other times they sound very different. 

If you like that airy, detailed sound, that brings you closer to the stage...these Sternklang ribbon cables below for sure will do that. Price is very affordable IMO. Gestalt Audio in Tenn sells them.